Man's request for a personalised number plate denied because his last name could cause offence

A Canadian man is fighting to have his name on a vanity plate. (Photo: Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Words: Hope Schreiber

A Canadian man says that his request for a personalised number plate has been rejected on the grounds that it contains an “unacceptable slogan.”

The CBC reports that Dave Assman, who pronounces his last name as “Oss-men,” has been prohibited from putting his last name on his number plate — and he’s determined to fight the ban.

“It’s my last name. I’ve always had it,” the Saskatchewan resident told the CBC. “I’m not ashamed of it. There’s nothing bad about it.”

For Assman, his name carries a proud legacy. His great-grandfather, an Assman himself, would help other farmers during hard times.

“Farmers would come in the early ’30s and they borrowed money from him,” Assman said. “Instead of him foreclosing on their land, he just either forgave it, or let them pay when they could.”

But according to Canadian government officials, a number plate featuring the name could offend others.

“Even if a word is someone’s name and pronounced differently than the offensive version, that’s not something that would be apparent to other motorists who will see the plate,” SGI spokesperson Tyler McMurchy explained. 

Dave Assman isn’t the first person whose given name has proved controversial.

Traci Redford, from Texas in the US, was criticised for naming her daughter Abcde after the story of her being “laughed at” by an airline staffer went viral.

You can’t tell me you name your poor kid Abcde and not expect some kind of flack,” one woman wrote on Facebook.

Another said: “Can you imagine the bullying she will get in school because you decided to name your child that. Come on.”

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